Naval Eastern Med after Sept 17 SITREP

Naval Eastern Med after Sept 17 SITREP from The Saker

Note by The Saker: normally, I would place a SITREP in the SITREP section, but since this event has so many people fired up and since Le Dahu provides such an interesting analysis, I have decide to post this as a “Guest Analysis”.
After the Saker’s latest analysis on Putin, Israel and the downed Il-20, I decided to put fingers to keyboard to type out this sitrep of sorts.

Quote 1:

“The bombing raid was near the French frigate the ‘Auvergne’ and in close proximity to the Ilyushin-20 plane from Russia’s Aerospace Force that was about to land,” Konashenkov said.

Vague description of route with no timing indicated. “Close proximity”. Questions: did the 4 F-16s use the ‘Auvergne’ as some kind of waypoint just before launching their missiles? How close is close, a few kilometres or 10’s of kilometres?

According to the Russian infographic provided at the briefing, the flight of Israeli F-16s went past the ‘Auvergne’ on their way to strike Syrian military installations. “At the same time, the Russian radars fixed missile launches from the French frigate Auvergne, which was in that area,” the Defense Ministry said. (TASS article 2:32 18th September). Plus this: “Airspace control has recorded rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne”. (Does anyone have a copy of this MoD statement?)

The Russian Ministry of Defence initially said it detected missile launches in the area from the ‘Auvergne’, at a time when the Israeli aircraft were in the air. This was duly reported by Russian media – this TASS article shows. But the French Ministry of Defence categorically “denied any involvement in the attack.”

In strange twist, this news disappeared out of the media, which was turned into Quote 1(above) as reported in a later Russian MoD press briefing.

Puzzling for the Russian MoD to take this course of action in the immediate hours after the shooting-down. I hope some facts will come to light. I find it troublesome that the Russian MoD would invent a scurrilous story, easy to dismiss and then afterwards liable to ridicule and discredited liars.

Quote 2:

He pointed out that the Israeli command centres and the F-16s’ pilots “could not but see the Russian plane, which was approaching the runway from an altitude of five kilometres.”

Coming down on final approach from 5 km height, well… everyone could see it then, even if it hadn’t activated its IFF, (NATO SNMG2 ships, US navy ships, Russian Navy, Israel, Cyprus and Turkey).

Debris from the downed IL-20 was found approximately 27km off Baniyas according to Russian officials.

As the Russian MoD infographic mentions that the F-16s were carrying GBU-39 glide bombs, then the presumed launch range is between 110km and 72km, (according to the specific type). We are assuming then that the ‘Auvergne’ was also within this range bracket. (Trying to fill the blanks provided by the Russian MoD).

Quote 3:

“A hotline warning was received less than one minute before the strike, which left no chance for getting the Russian plane to safety,” he added

To note that this is the hotline. The reality on the ground would have distinctly different, since the Russian Navy AD warning systems would have picked up the Israelis some time before. Similar situation for the Russian coastal defence units.

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